Coins were invented about 600 BCE, about 3000 years after money (as we understand it) was invented. Within three generations, by 500 BCE, coins had acquired most of the attributes that associate with them today. Perhaps first among them, both in time and importance, was carrying a message. As signifiers or semata, coins paralleled the ascendance of writing over speech to extend the width and depth of communication.
|WE WIN WHEN WE WORK WILLINGLY|
|Canada 5-cent nickel (left) and 5-cent tombac (right) |
war time issues with Morse code message at rim.
World War II was a much larger and longer engagement. In 1943, the total population of the USA was 136.7 million, of whom 9.2 million were in the armed forces. Although American civilians who were ethnically Japanese were placed in concentration camps, their sons were allowed to join the armed forces (and fight in Europe). So, of course, the military tapped a new generation of Native American Code Talkers.
|Reverse of US Mint 2016 Native American Dollar|
honors the Code Talkers from two wars.
For that work, the British Numismatic Society granted her a John Sanford Saltus Gold Medal in 1986. You can find a brief biography in Wikipedia, of course, but as Joan Clarke. Lord Stewartby (Bernard Harold Ian Halley Stewart), one of her collaborators in the coinage of Scotland, wrote her obituary for the British Numismatic Journal Vol. 67 No. 13, pages 162-167, online here.)
(See, also, my review of The Imitation Game with pictures of two computer security challenge coins in the E-Sylum newsletter of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society here.)
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